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. in the maya city of copan, a jeweler fashioned rare shell and jade for his powerful lord. in mexico, living artisans echo the economy of a vanished civilization. and in teotihuacan, evidence of mass production has now been unearthed. tiny faces of clay reflect the men and women who made them a thousand years ago. on the other side of the world, in the ancient roman city of ostia, huge merchant ships were part of an economy much like our own. and today, the tanners of morocco still practice their ancient craft, living proof that economies have evolved out of the past. everyone who has ever lived has been part of an economic system. iel bote grande...mil pesos! economic systems are simply the ways people produce, distribute and consume things -- everything and anything, from tortillas to stocks and bonds. for 10,000, 10,000 an eighth. today, as in the past, economic systems lie at the heart of how a society is organized. archaeologists search for these systems because they believe economies hold the key to understanding ancient societies. archaeologist william sanders. the economy of any give
on earth. we live on the frozen tundra and in the searing deserts. we live in thriving cities of millions and in isolated camps of a few dozen. some societies seem simple because they are small and their members are self-sufficient and use simple tools. others seem complex because they have large populations and people depend on each other for food and goods and use sophisticated technology. in between, there is a range that fills the spectrum. all of these differences are cultural, learned behavior, the result of a complex interaction between our inventiveness and our natural environments. as we search for new horizons, our inventiveness thrusts us across the boundaries of space, into new worlds. this new view of earth dispels an ancient myopia -- the artificial boundaries of our states and the politics that often divide us. here is a vision of one planet and one family of humankind. but the view from earth reminds us of a common human dilemma, the rise and fall of our many ways of life. here, among the ruins of ancient civilizations, archaeologists are retracing the steps in a long and
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